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Chris is a committed believer, has “kissed dating goodbye,” and believes in saving sex until marriage.  He also has a normal sex drive which means that he thinks about sex every seven seconds.  Then he meets Christina at church, a helplessly voluptuous woman who also believes in saving sex until marriage.  They fall deeply, powerfully in love, the stuff of romance books.  All manner of hormones flow through them during those heady first weeks and months: norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, inevitable chemicals of romance, enflaming an eruption of that red-hot lava called lust.


Ah, lust.  Lust which clouds judgment and leads sensible people to make questionable and rash decisions.  Poor Chris, suddenly so overwhelmed with lust: committed to no-sex-until-marriage, he is going nuts trying to stay true to his convictions.  He has lost all objectivity, all ability to rationally assess life-long compatibility with Christina (and she him), all ability to discern God’s will.  Within a few short months, in the midst of his pulsing libido, he proposes to Christina.  Their engagement period is (surprise, surprise) only four months.  Though filled with virginal nervousness and clumsiness, their wedding night is as hoped for.


Eight months later, however, they’ve come to realize how truly incompatible they are, how different they are, how – had they not been so intoxicated with lust – they would never have gotten married.  They were duped by lust.  On some lonely nights, Chris, feigning sleep, silently curses the name Joshua Harris not knowing that at the very same moment Christina, also feigning sleep, is cursing the name Elizabeth Elliot.


Whatever else may be said about the secular dating method, the decision to marry is usually made with cooler heads, calmer hearts, and more objectivity.  The typical secular couple falls in love, and, while under the throes of passion, have sex, regular sex.  After the initial rush of romance inevitably settles, when lust has taken a backseat, they make a more rational decision regarding marriage and their compatibility. 


But not Chris and Christina.  They were left with only one recourse to satiate a lust-hunger, to tame the lust-beast, and that one recourse was to make a huge decision with lifelong ramifications.  The Christian dating scheme is one which fails to take into account the blinding, overwhelming, and duping power of lust. 


Now, I am certainly not advocating the secular dating scheme.  I still believe the Chris-Christina scheme is the Christian gold standard.  But it is a standard embedded with difficulties often downplayed or altogether ignored.  If we are to advocate to singles this gold standard, we have a responsibility to also warn of some quagmires.  But I have yet to think of any workable solution to this embedded lust issue.



  1. I agree with you that the pitfalls and defects of the group approach such as Josh Harris writes about aren’t shared. Sure there are problems with dating but there are also some problems with the group/courtship approach. I have a blog where I share my thoughts on this.

    I Kissed Dating Goodbye: Wisdom or Foolishness?

  2. delicately says : I absolutely agree with this !

  3. If they were duped by lust, wouldn’t they be duped regardless of a “no-sex” policy? Are you inferring they are not compatible sexually?

  4. I see where you’re coming from (I think IKDG is a bunch of garbage, btw) but I think you’re oversimplifying marriage. Some people have good ones, some people have miserable ones. I think the concept of being a “good match” is a western one. The beauty of marriage isn’t how effortless it is but rather how two sinful people can grow closer to one another. Some people have an easier time than others but that’s not the point.

    After going through the struggles of abstinence with my wife and eventually falling into temptation, we both agree that people aren’t made for dating. It puts people in a bad position. Even though we did consummate before our wedding day, it didn’t remove any of the sexual tension. We struggled with it until our wedding day. It really was a no-win situation for us.

    People think sex is some magical release of tension but it’s not. This logic is a trap and I pray that you don’t fall into it. What people desire isn’t just sex (though media will tell you otherwise), it’s a deep and lasting relationship. It’s a hole that cannot be filled by an empty orgasm. I gather Chris and Christina are probably made-up but if they were real it would be clear to me that their problems go way deeper than their being blinded by their libido.

    I think Christians are trapped by a poor system but it’s up to us to make the best of it and, dare I say, glorify God through it.

    Interesting post though.

    Dan (a recovering AA churchgoer)

  5. I see your point Dan, and I think you do make some very legitimate arguments. Purity before marriage is not the cure-all for societies marital issues, and is an oversimplification. God has given us forgiveness so the pitfalls of our mistakes can be wiped clean. Once we realize that, we certainly can glorify God. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

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